THIS FEATURE HAS A TWO-FOLD PURPOSE: 1. TO ALLOW THOSE RECENTLY ADDED TO OUR FOLLOWER’S LIST TO LEARN ABOUT BOOKS THEY MIGHT HAVE MISSED AND 2. TO MAKE SURE PREVIOUSLY FEATURED AUTHORS AND THEIR WORK AREN’T FORGOTTEN. IF YOU’D LIKE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT ANY ONE OF THE BOOKS REVISITED HERE, SIMPLY CLICK ON THE “AUTHOR” PAGE, THEN ON THAT AUTHOR’S NAME.
“MONUMENT ROAD,” BY CHARLIE QUIMBY
Leonard Self has spent a year unwinding his ranch, paying down debts and fending off the darkening. Just one thing left: taking his wife’s ashes to her favorite overlook, where he plans to step off the cliff with her. But perhaps he’s not as alone as he believes.
Stark, beautiful landscapes attract all kinds. Artists and gawkers. Love birds and the lonely. Believers and scientists. Seekers and losers. Many have taken this same road past estrangement and loss to healing and hope. Though not all have returned, they can still help Leonard answer whether his life is over after all.
“THE LIES THAT BIND,” BY ED PROTZEL
In 1859, Durksen (Durk) Hurst, aka Dark Horse, a visionary charlatan on the run, encounters a dozen hungry slaves stranded in the Mississippi wilds, led by Big Josh. Two desperate people in need of one another, they agree to build an egalitarian plantation, with Hurst acting as figurehead “master” to deceive the town. Big Josh is the group’s natural leader, but Durk’s ambitious schemes imperil the tenuous brotherhood’s survival.
On the adjacent property live the Frenches: Missus Marie Brussard French, a controlling matriarch who manipulates the region’s bankers and cotton brokers, and her frail, rebellious heir-apparent, Devereau. They “legally” adopt a child from New Orleans to carry on their legacy, but the child dies mysteriously. Now Cassandra-like Antoinette, the mother, has come for her son and gets more than she expected.
Durk “wins” a large tract of land from a Chickasaw chief, the actual deed holder. Seeing Durk as a threat, Missus French orders Devereau to kill him. But Devereau, strangely ambivalent about Durk, refuses, and the conflict between the Frenches comes to a searing boil. Devereau uncovers family secrets, threatening to expose the French’s own vulnerable façade.
“GLASS FACTORY,” BY MARILYN McCABE
Marilyn writes: “Glass Factory came together over several years, but came into focus in 2014 and early 2015 after I lost several friends to untimely deaths, including my little friend Myles who died in his childhood and my friend Nate who died in his late 50s. At that time also my otherwise active and healthy mother had a life-changing health event that revealed her decline into dementia had quickened and she could no longer live independently. Presence and absence, temporality, ephemerality, memory, the absence of memory all were uppermost in my consciousness even as I witnessed the cycle of seasons, the beauties of earth and of the human-made world. I found beauty even in destruction, even in loss.
“REPTILE WINES,” BY JOHN HEWITT.
When a leading family in California’s wine-obsessed Napa Valley confronts a rebel daughter they call “The Reptile” she launches her own label, and ignites a revolution that’s out of this world.
Wine country tour guide Miles Trout vows to find the truth behind the suspiciously public death of his cousin, Reptile Wines co-owner, Lucky Tarpitz. When the corpse disappears, Miles is pulled into a dark world of loan sharks, money launderers, charlatan diviners and overzealous federal agents. Lucky’s scheming mother Angelina, the high-voltage spark behind Reptile Wines, continually leads Miles astray while Lucky’s distraught relatives mount a nonstop campaign of booby traps and ambushes.
In his crazed search, Miles spends extravagantly on Lucky’s lazy racehorse Love Blisters, dances with a witch and carries on a stumbling love affair with female jockey and former exotic dancer, Pixie Limber.
Then Miles strikes pay dirt by unearthing the hideout of an allegedly dead winemaker and astronomer who’s been inviting space aliens to the wine country. The ATF and FBI have their man, but Miles knows one more place south of the border where Lucky may be resting—but is he dead or alive?
“CODA,” BY ARTHUR LEVY.
At the peak of his career and popularity, Russian icon Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky died mysteriously. Rumors were that he died of cholera – unlikely, as Tchaikovsky’s house staff was well aware that water should be boiled. There are other possible scenarios of the untimely death of this healthy man in his early fifties.
In 19th century Russia, being gay was perilous. The punishment was severe; knowing someone was gay and not reporting it warranted torture, if not death. Tchaikovsky was gay.
This account of foreboding doom reveals a secret between Tchaikovsky and his lover, Ivan, encoded in sheet music. Tchaikovsky’s plan is to stealthily evade death. That encoded blueprint survived to this day. Coda is fiction, but is anchored on carefully researched historical literature and Tchaikovsky’s letters.
In a parallel, current-day story line, Fred is given this mystical music in a Russian antiques shop in NYC and finds that there are modern-day zealots that will stop at nothing to destroy all evidence that Tchaikovsky had a lover. These zealots have crosshairs on those who know too much. The adventure takes Fred and friends from Brooklyn to Moscow to save a life.
“BULL AND OTHER STORIES,” BY KATHY ANDERSON.
“Bull and Other Stories is a collection of thirteen short stories, many set in Philadelphia, Delaware, and southern New Jersey – places where I’ve lived and worked. The people in Bull and Other Stories are varied: a teenage boy coming to grips with a transgender parent; two elderly squabbling sisters on their last trip; a middle-aged lesbian bartender falling in love for the first time; a funeral home driver; a female rabbit farmer with a son on the autism spectrum; a rich lesbian couple driving their realtor crazy. What the stories have in common is that they are about real people dealing with the dramas of everyday life that we all face – love, sex, death, divorce, working – and all are funny in some way.”